Cape Town, Day 2

Tuesday, March 7

Today François led us in our rugby training, including throwing, catching, running, positions, scrums, throw ins, and everything else to make it look like we knew what we were doing.  After our rugby lesson we ate lunch at the Stellenbosch Rugby Academy. From there we did sight-seeing at Boulder’s Beach and both Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope. What were your favorite parts about today’s activities and what were your takeaways, as related to new insights you gained about South Africa?

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Nick knows you gotta pass behind you.

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31 Responses to “Cape Town, Day 2”

  1. Caley Says:

    My favorite part of today wasn’t included in the itinerary: hiking Lion’s Head at sunrise. There’s no better feeling than summiting a mountain before the city even wakes up. We left the hotel at 5:15 AM, and reached the top by 6:30 AM. It was a truly once in a lifetime experience and I think back on it as one of my favorite South Africa moments.

  2. Phil Says:

    Still limping on my bum foot, I still gave my best attempt to run around during the rugby training. Tons of fun, although I think I was still throwing the ball like a football by the end of it.

    I enjoyed the lunch after the most as I was able to speak to the instructors and understand a little bit more about the academy. Their passion for the game was infectious, although it was surprising to see how focused the academy was on rugby education instead of a balanced education with potential backup career paths. They also enjoyed a good chuckle at the way I pronounced “ball” and “water”.

  3. Samantha Frapart Says:

    This day was much more fun than I had expected. I’m not great at team sports, but I enjoy a good, sunny day and learning something new. One aspect of this experience that wasn’t necessarily surprising, but still quite jarring was the immense amount of sexism that seemed welcome in SA. The irony of the level of misogynist behavior targeted at a bunch of female MBAs was not lost on me. I speak on behalf of women everywhere when I say to Francios that teaching children to play rugby is in no way proof that you can also teach women. And be careful…some day Moni could be your boss!

  4. Sam Says:

    As Caley mentioned, the best part of today was the feeling of reaching the summit of Lion’s Head in time to watch the sun rise over the rest of the city.

    The training and meeting with the Stellenbosch Rugby Academy was interesting since it was perhaps the most direct interaction we had to the educational system in South Africa. The notion that being a “sportsman” was a full-time and long-term career certainly differs from our perception of amateur and professional athletes at home.

  5. John Says:

    I liked the contrast between this rugby academy and SA Rugby’s presentation the day before. The previous day’s major national implications were washed away in favor of creating ‘men of value’, with a much more individual focus.

    The day also highlighted some misogyny issues that South Africa is dealing with, which are less publicly discussed than the obvious racial tensions.

  6. Linda Says:

    I came into this activity with cynicism because I didn’t really care to play rugby, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun I had. The coach took it easy on us, letting us do fun, short drills. I would have liked to see the actual SRA team play, but I’m sure we needed to get out of the way. Their grounds felt like a really nice summer camp. Women cooked all their meals and did their laundry (I could see a woman folding laundry across the street from the dining hall). I hope they add a new value to their posted list – don’t expect a woman to do all this crap for you when you grow up.

  7. Tyler Says:

    I came into the rugby training having already hiked Lion’s Head that morning for sunrise. I knew it was going to be a long, exhausting day, and the rugby drills they ran us through confirmed that. I did manage to score a ‘try’ during one of the scrimmages, which was a highlight for me. Learning about the academy system in South African rugby gave me some great context for how they develop talent from youth leagues to professional leagues.

  8. Bill Quach Says:

    I enjoyed this day. Many of the rugby activities felt more authentic and less catered towards tourists. It was clear that François did not filter his thoughts and speech and I think we all gained a better perspective of SA culture as a result of it. Seeing the young rugby players up close and having one of their typical meals at the Academy gave me a better look at a day in the life of a SA athlete. The spread of food resembled what we consume in the US, but with a slight twist making it new to me. Just as american lasagna is different from Italian lasagna, SA lasagna was different in its own right. Running into a group of Wharton MBAs at boulder’s beach reminded me of the number of tourists SA must see each year and got me thinking about where we fit into the SA economy.

  9. Garry Ferguson Says:

    Tuesday, 7 March: My body was adjusted and ready for rugby at this point. We stopped by the Stellenbosch Rugby Academy for a hands-on rugby tutorial courtesy of one of the coaches. Though light, the physical activity was just what the doctor ordered. Much like people remark about alcohol taking the proverbial edge off for some people, being physically active does that for me. It was fun learning a new sport, yet a little awkward, but the beauty of sports is that athleticism tends to transcend the game. Simply having some athletic ability makes it easier to establish at least a baseline proficiency at other sports. I’m sure musicians find their musical abilities transcendent among instruments as well. I’m glad we put this event near the beginning of our trip because it created an excellent foundation for building relationships the rest of the way.

    The academy itself was nostalgic for me. The players all lived together and strove toward similar goals. All of them support each other in competition. It took me back to my high school days (HAS-BEEN ALERT!) and reminded me of me and my teammates struggling to get better together in the gym, on the track, and on the practice field. These guys are so fortunate to be involved in a program like this. The relationships they build here will be unlike any other they have in life. They were certainly among the best for me.

  10. Garry Ferguson Says:

    Tuesday, 7 March ctd.: I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on my first taste of Ethiopian food. In short, it turns out that Ethiopian food is delish (delicious) and the experience was unsurprisingly enhanced by the fellowship of some outstanding folks, a common theme throughout the trip.

  11. Parnali Says:

    Today was certainly one of my most memorable and favorite parts of our visit to South Africa, given the number of activities we partook in and the extremely informational, welcoming South Africans we met. While I loved learning about Rugby, visiting Cape Point and Boulder’s beach, I was certainly reminded of how much harder some individuals lives are during our visit with Stellenbosch Rugby Academy. The fact that these young men and women are pulled out of their neighborhoods (away from their families) and essentially isolated on this compound in order to pursue their dreams, made me really feel for them. I had spoken with a young man who was at Stellenbosch and he openly admitted his family was not very well to do and because they lacked in financial funds, this was his best route to success. He also stated this was the case for most of his peers. There were several visits during our trip to Cape Town similar to this one that reminded me how fortunate I am to have the plethora of opportunities I do.

  12. Alana Says:

    I had a great time learning how to play rugby. I wish we could have played more with one another. I also liked getting to meet the rugby players and academy leadership. It was helpful to better understand the BEE and how rugby is addressing the social initiatives. I noticed that Christianity is integrated throughout the culture. At the Academy, there were references to religion.

    The penguins were a highlight of my day and the Cape of Good Hope. The penguins were really interesting to watch, especially in the observatory area. The Cape of Good Hope is a place that I’ve heard about growing up. It was gorgeous.

  13. Nick Eyer Says:

    A group of us started this day off with a Lions Head hike, and that was one of my most memorable activities during the entire trip. It was crazy to be looking down at the city and beaches from 2000+ feet in the air, and it made me feel like quite the accomplished individual by 730am! I had a great time learning the basics of rugby, and although it wasn’t always pretty I had a blast running around and trying our best to play a mini rugby match. After yesterday’s museum visit, the rugby practice and our visit to the Academy further expanded on the importance of rugby in South Africa.

    The penguins at Boulders Beach were definitely a highlight of the trip, and I was amazed at how close we were able to get to them. The Cape of Good Hope was also amazing, and it was really bizarre to think that just a few days after departing Austin I was at (just about) the southern most point of the continent. n

    Later that evening a few of us went to a Ethiopian restaurant for dinner. This was my first Ethiopian dinner experience, and at this time I was wondering how I lasted this long without trying Ethiopian before. Perhaps it’s me just being a foodie, but despite all the breathtaking views, active experiences and memorable interactions in Cape Town, I was beginning to rate the food as one of my favorite aspects of African culture.

  14. Micah Says:

    See Day 1 page for my comments on Day 2…oops.

  15. Caroline Says:

    I was pleasantly surprised with how much fun I had learning to play rugby. While there were a few gender-related comments that we tried to laugh off, I think the lesson went very well and hopefully we proved the coach wrong… and that we were more fun to coach than the 6 year old girls!

    My absolute favorite part of this day was getting to enjoy the scenery. From Cape Town to Stellenbosch and then to the Cape of Good Hope, I think my eyes were glued to the window. The South Africa coastline was just beautiful. There aren’t many places where you can go from a region known for its world class vineyards to such pristine beaches in a 30 minute drive. The roads, however, were spotted with the occasional shantytown followed by a well-to-do neighborhood. The ability to go from one world to another in a matter of moments with the only acknowledgement that the other exists being the tall, barbed wire fences around the nicer neighborhoods, was a constant reminder of the social issues present in such a beautiful country.

  16. Preeta Maitra Says:

    Similar to some of the other ladies who’ve commented before me, I was actually quite pleasantly surprised with our morning rugby lesson! The coach needs to work on how to speak with professional women (I remember a comment he made to the women about how our “dads could be [his] boss some day” and we all looked at each other like “we could be your boss some day, dude!!”) But besides that, he was a great coach and very patient with us rugby newbies.

    After the lesson we learned more about the Academy. I must admit that the concept of this academy didn’t (and still doesn’t) make a lot of sense to me. I see that their mission is to improve the lives of these men through rugby and education and to hopefully give them marketable skills for their future. However, when we pressed further about the education piece, it seemed to be quite lacking in useful substance (they talked about general education classes in marketing, sales, and “life skills” – so is that like home ec?). I hope that the Academy actually does have a very sound plan in place for their students who may not get to have a career in rugby once they graduate.

  17. Samantha Toth Says:

    This was one of my favorite days! It was definitely action-packed as many of us started with a 5am hike up Lion’s Head. The rugby lesson was entertaining, and as many others have mentioned, highlighted some of the challenges still to be addressed in South African rugby. I think the sexism was a bit more overt than many of us expected, and I was also struck by how, despite what we learned at the museum the day previously, the Academy seemed to be targeted at enrolling wealthy, white, Christian students. I’m very glad we got the opportunity to see Boulder’s Beach and the Cape of Good Hope as these were a bit farther outside the city and would have been difficult to coordinate a visit in our available free time.

  18. Renee Weissend Says:

    I honestly knew NOTHING about rugby until I took this class. After going to South Africa and learning about the game, I have such appreciation for the sport. It requires such athleticism and it is truly remarkable how the country embraces it. The day was certainly action filled! That morning, we hiked up Lion’s Head to watch the sunrise. It was the best sunrise of my life – no joke! After the hike and rugby, my muscles were sore! It was exhilarating to be so active. And, I have to say it, rugby players are very good looking! It was hard to concentrate when the fellows from the school program came to show us a few plays.

  19. Rooma Chi Says:

    We started the day at 5 am with an early wake up and a hike up to Lion’s head with hopes to catch the sunrise. The hike was harder than I expected but the view was so worth it and it ended up being one of my favorite experiences from the trip. Later that day, it was interesting to do some basic rugby drills but I almost wish we broke up into two teams and played a friendly match to test out our newly acquired skills.

  20. Baoxin Says:

    I was quite nervous before the rugby lesson, because I am not good at any kind of sports. But the lesson was with so much fun! Special thanks to Orlando for taking such wonderful pictures; I feel I am like an athlete! In terms of the Academy, it is quite similar to Chinese sports schools, which trains and selects talented athletes to represent China at international sports events. The students at sports schools take very limited basic general knowledge courses, such as math. Only those who are selected to the national team will earn fame and wealth; and for those who are not selected, they will get an opportunity to do basic manual work. But because of the lack of professional skills, those students are not able to start a decent career, such as doctor and lawyer. It is true that the Academy (including Chinese sports schools) improves lives of thousands of poor students, but it’s in a quite inefficient way.

  21. Kristin Johnson Says:

    While I really enjoyed getting to play around with all of our classmates, I found the rugby instructor to be a bit militant. I’m not sure if this is just the nature of how the academies are, but I think everyone would have liked to be a little less pressured to do drills and such, and instead, perhaps play more like we did at the end. My favorite part of the day was our trip to the Cape of Good Hope. The views were absolutely gorgeous. I also think that having “Circle of Life” playing on the speaker in the bus at the conclusion of the day was a highlight as well.

  22. Moni Says:

    I started the morning at 5:15AM with a hike up Lion’s Head. As someone with a mild case of vertigo and very limited hiking experience outside of the occasional stroll on the Austin Greenbelt, scaling some of the narrow, unclear paths up the mountain was memorable and accomplishing! A special thank you to sweet Mr. Nick Eyer, whom I didn’t know at all before the trip, but who patiently hiked with me and provided needed words of encouragement. The sunrise was an amazing blend of blue, pink, and orange.

    The rugby component of the day was engaging. It was fun to practice a few drills here and there, but I wish it was a little more physically challenging and that we could have observed an actual game. I don’t think Francois was used to working with women. During lunch at the academy I was also surprised with how much religion was intertwined with their academy values. The rest of the day was long but fun, walking around Boulder Beach and Cape of Good Hope. Surrounded by ocean, it was crazy to think I was literally at the most southern point of the continent of Africa.

  23. Adriana Penalba Says:

    I really enjoyed the sightseeing! I was so happy to see the penguins and Cape of Good Hope which were bucket list items for me. I don’t think I will ever fully understand rugby. It was interesting to see how pervasive the sport is throughout white South African culture, and how hard those boys trained when most did not have a chance of playing at the next level.

  24. Kavita Says:

    I didn’t think that I would enjoy rugby as much as I did! It was nice to get some activity into our itinerary after many long flights, lavish dinners and tons of wine. It was a dream of mine to see the penguins on Boulders Beach! I felt like my trip was made after that one visit. South Africa is hands down the most beautiful country that I have ever visited, and I cant wait to go back one day.

  25. Mansi Narula Says:

    It was really helpful to actually play the game that has impacted the modern South Africa so much. Seeing how much technique and strength is involved allowed me to respect the sport and start to understand why people would find it so interesting. Furthermore, learning about the academy was also interesting however I’m not sure how it fit into the CSR theme that we had. Lastly, the cape of good hope was jaw dropping and it was very clear from the view that we were in an incredibly special place.

  26. Swati Seth Says:

    I enjoyed learning about the rules of Rugby more than I thought I would. I was a bit disappointed to find out that we wouldn’t be playing each other after all the practice drills. Anyhow, the visit to the academy was helpful in understanding and first hand experiencing how players are being given a chance at sustainable livelihood by providing them both education and rugby training. The focus on imparting social values (some even linked to religion) was apparent during our trip. The visit to Cape of Good Hope and Boulder’s beach were one of the highlights of the trip for me. Loved the casual attitude of the penguins towards tourists!

  27. Brian Murphy Says:

    Fantastic sunrise hike up to the top of Lion’s Head (where was Orlando???). What an incredible view. At rugby, Francois said “I’ve never taught women rugby before, but I’ve taught children, so I’ll be fine”. I thought Caroline was going to rip his head off!!

  28. Lauren Busch Says:

    My favorite day! Like a lot of my classmates, I hiked up to the top of Lion’s Head for sunrise – a hike I was not mentally or physically prepared for. The end result was totally worth it, though.

    Already exhausted, I mustered up my remaining energy for some rugby. I love learning how to play new sports, and rugby was one I’d been dying to better understand. I feel like I assumed my role as hooker well, and while I didn’t appreciate all the comments the trainer made, I had a lot of fun throughout the course of the morning.

    I also loved being able to see some big tourist attractions near Cape Town. The penguins were adorable, and Cape of Good Hope was truly breathtaking. This was the day I realized just how beautiful South Africa is, and I felt so lucky to be there experiencing it with this group.

  29. Katie Thigpen Says:

    The Lion’s Head hike was the highlight of my trip. Kree didn’t wake up for it 😦 The sunrise was breathtaking and I’m glad I got to share it with some of my classmates. Rugby was a ball (pun intended!) and I loved constantly being picked to participate. The pictures of me being lifted up were NOT flattering but it was fun. Also, I was so happy to be around the penguins at BB!

  30. Natasha Mayekar Says:

    I would say the hike to Lion’s Head was the highlight of the trip. Though I did not make it to the very top, it was truly breathtaking and rewarding to do such a hike in the dark and experience the sunrise. Already on this wonderful high, I really enjoyed learning about rugby much more than I thought I would – it was great to get some physical activity in during this day. I also loved seeing the penguins and the natural tourist attractions. I really appreciated how a lot of the natural beauty is still preserved.

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